The columns declaring the offseason winners and losers have already been written. The free agents who signed before the NFL Draft received all of the attention and acclaim. Yet the signing announced today for the Kansas City Chiefs in safety Abram Elam is on par with nearly anything the team has done yet this offseason, even if it stays out of the spotlight relative to others.
Peyton Hillis was applauded. Stanford Routt was the first to join in 2012. Eric Winston was called the biggest prize of all. All three alongside Kevin Boss and Brady Quinn were hailed by most NFL analysts as key to a great offseason for the Chiefs front office. The roster is stronger and positions of need and depth were addressed. But one position remained untouched despite the need for an additional veteran.
Safety was an position of concern for the team last season due to the season-ending injury to Pro Bowler Eric Berry. Kendrick Lewis was also banged up in week 13 against the Chicago Bears, and he also underwent shoulder surgery just after the season was over. That left the team perilously thin and led to significant playing time for both Sabby Piscitelli (2 starts in 2011) and Donald Washington (3 starts). The front office simply had to do something to alleviate the dropoff in talent from the starting duo to the next level.
Enter Abram Elam. The Dallas Cowboys started Elam every single game last year and he started 31 of 32 games for the Cleveland Browns in the two seasons prior. That's 47 total starts in three years that the Chiefs are bringing in with the signing of Elam. He's a solid tackler and can defend both the run and the pass and Romeo Crennel will certainly know how to use him.
With the addition of Dequan Menzie in the NFL Draft as a new nickel safety and slot corner hybrid, the Chiefs have definitely helped invigorate the second level on the depth chart at a position that was perilously thin. Wonderful late addition for the Kansas City Chiefs and Scott Pioli